A good fundraising event can generate thousands of dollars, often enough to cover most, if not all, of the cost of your placement.
Above applying for bursaries and grants, and trying to find a sponsor, fundraising events are the best weapon in your fundraising arsenal.
There are endless ideas, from the small and sensible to the mad and ambitious. Of course, the more mad and ambitious the more money they tend to make.
And as for you, if you’ve got enough enthusiasm to sign yourself up for an overseas healthcare placement, you’re more than capable of running an amazing fundraising campaign. We’ve seen it time and again.
The first step is coming up with that one golden idea. There are different types of fundraising event. They all work in their own way, and depending on the type of person you are, some might sit with you more comfortably than others.
Taking a bath in baked beans isn’t for everyone.
The premise is simple: find or make things you want to sell, and then sell them.
The chest of vintage clothes under your bed, the homemade organic gluten-free vegan flapjacks you learned how to make last October, that box of your brother’s old Pokemon cards — anything goes. You could even stage a bring-and-buy sale, whereby your customers can also bring along their own items to donate to your sale.
You’ll need to think about where you’re going to hold your sale. You might be able to do it out of your parents’ garage if you’re at home, or if you’re at uni you can hire a venue through your student union. You could also go to the local car boot sale and purchase a stall.
If you’re at uni, telling people about your sale will be a breeze. Jump on relevant campus social media pages, stick up posters, ask faculty to send out emails. If you’re at home it could be more of a challenge, but you can click here to check out our article about promotion.
Another great way of generating some funds is to host a ticketed event.
Dinner parties, film nights, open mic nights, fancy dress water polo — whatever you think people would pay to attend (maybe not that last one).
If you’re prepared to put in the legwork, these can be fun to organise and even more fun to host. The money’s not bad either. We think that one of the best ways to do this is to keep is small-scale, but don’t be shy with the ticket prices. Selling 100 $2.50 tickets to a film night is much harder than 10 $25 tickets to a fancy dinner party. Pick your battles.
A quiz night is one of our favourite events. You can find plenty of online resources that host quiz questions, you could even tailor your quiz to a certain topic, such as local history or health care! You can then provide a prize (which you might be able to organise after some pleasant emails to local businesses) and a few drinks and refreshments for your contestants.
The venue and promotion will work much in the same way as they do with a sale (above). But again, you can check out our article on promotion here.
Give Something Up
Give up something you love for an impressive period of time, and get some sponsorship money in return.
Protip: sponsored silences normally go down well, especially with friends and family who’ll delight in trying to get you to talk. They might be less impressed if you decide to give up broccoli to raise funds.
One of the great benefits of the sponsorship angle is that people can give you whatever they think it’s worth — no one is excluded from donating on account of being short on cash.
There are endless options when it comes to competitions and raffles. Your best bet is to get online, search through ideas and pick ones you like the most. Make sure you’ve got some attractive prizes — you might be able to persuade local organisations to donate them if you offer to give them a shout out — and charge a small fee for competition entries.
Read our “How to promote your story” guide here.
Not for the faint of heart, there are plenty of weird and wonderful event ideas that will grab attention. Not just the attention of your friends and family — they’ll humour you no matter what you do — but also that of the wider public. There are plenty of people who’d pay a tenner to watch a grown man have his legs waxed.
Fundraising has a long history peppered with baked bean baths, waxed legs, dyed hair, and bungee jumps. How does the old saying go — don’t get carried away? Well, that doesn’t apply here.
If you don't like the idea of hosting a findraising event you could try and find someone to sponsor your placement, or apply for bursaries and grants, and learn how to be a master of budgeting to raise the money for your trip.